By the way, my priorities right now are two writing projects I'm shifting back and forth between. Is that multi-tasking, which is now bad? Because I feel as if I'm being productive. Finished a chapter today, for instance.
Here's something interesting: prioritizing only two things (well, I do a little submission research to take advantage of small, odd moments) makes me feel as if I am totally unrushed. I have time. How I'll feel when I'm still working on these things in a few months, I can't say. Though you can be sure I'll think of something then.
July 28, 2015
What's My Priority Today?
The June issue of More Magazine carried an interview with Laura Vanderkam who writes about time and productivity, particularly in relation to professional people. Vanderkam had a number of interesting things to say.
- She provides still more support for the unit system, saying, for instance, "Not taking breaks during the workday is a big mistake, because if you don't take intentional breaks, you'll take unintentional ones." Remember, will power is finite, strongest in the morning and wears out during the day. The breaks you take every 45 minutes, or after whatever unit of time you want to work, help to replenish will power so you're able to work at a higher level.
- She suggests that people decide what they're going to do for downtime on weekends early in the week before they're too worn out from work to do any planning. Writers with day jobs could do something similar, plan what writing tasks they're going to do with their free time at a point when they're rested and feeling positive about getting some writing done.
Priorities Vs. Not Having Time
Here is the thing I liked best in this interview: Rather than say, "I don't have time," say, "This isn't a priority." Vanderkam goes on to say, "That language is more accurate." She means that we have time to do a great many things but choose not to. It's not that we really don't have time. We're choosing not to do the things we say we don't have time for.
Some people might find that judgmental. But to me, choosing to think in terms of priorities instead of "not having time" is situational. Priorities change. Your situation one week can mean you can make writing a priority. A couple of weeks later, marketing knocks writing from the top of the work list. A few months after that, your personal life shoves things around for a while.
I like thinking in terms of "This isn't a priority" instead of "I don't have time" because what that really says to me is "This isn't a priority now." I can make it a priority another time.